Intimate Real Wedding Feature – Kelly and Sam at The Grand Hotel York

Oct 10, 2020

On September 5th 2020, Kelly and Sam got married in an intimate ceremony with 24 guests at The Grand York.

We had the pleasure of working closely with this fabulous couple who were determined to say their vows and not let coronavirus get in the way of their life plans. This week we’re sharing with you their beautiful story, behind the scenes of their wedding day and what they would say to couples who are considering a micro wedding.

Childhood Sweethearts

“We originally met at school when we were 14. Everyone at school joked that we were the Ross and Rachel (from Friends) of our school year as we were on again and off again all the time. Our favourite place to visit is Edinburgh and the first time we went as a couple I thought we were staying in a Travelodge but Sam had booked The Balmoral as a surprise.

Then 8 years later this is where we got engaged on our 10th anniversary trip to Edinburgh. Sam had planned an amazing room upgrade and I was so blown away that I was filming the room and taking pictures whilst Sam was worrying about trying to propose before concierge came to the door with the champagne he’d ordered!”

Wedding Venue

“On our return home from Edinburgh, we stayed at The Grand Hotel in York. At that point we were looking to get married in Edinburgh but when we returned home we decided it wasn’t for us and we emailed The Grand to see what availability they had. We found out they had September 5th 2020 available which turned out to be our 11th anniversary so the next day we went to meet Lauren and we just knew it was right.

The hotel is also the original headquarters of The North Eastern Railway Company and we both work for the railway now. My dad also tiled the hotel, the pool and spa as well as many of the rooms including the suite we stayed in over our wedding weekend. It just all fit perfectly, we felt at home.”

Wedding Inspiration and Styling

“We chose Ambience after seeing their instagram. Then we discovered they were also a recommended supplier of our venue. We loved the styling on every post on Instagram as it was romantic and relaxed, just reaching the perfect level of decor added for each location without being too much. Then, once we met Laura and Hana we knew they could create what we were imagining and we loved that it meant we would not have to lift a finger on the morning of the wedding! That fact alone made them worth every penny!”

Wedding Flowers – Bouquets and Fireplace Decor

“We chose Dutch Nurseries as our florist and my bridal bouquet was based around memory lane roses. The soft lilac hue was the perfect colour to match the romantic vibe I envisaged and, as I’m quite sentimental, I loved the name of the roses. We paired these with avalanche and menta roses and eucalyptus to create a really romantic pastel colour palette. We also used veronica to create height and texture as I didn’t want my bouquet to be one height and overly formal.

The bridesmaid bouquets were very simple to contrast with my bouquet. We chose an all white freesia smaller sized hand tied bouquet. They looked very classic and chic against the soft pink dresses.

We also had a large floral fireplace installation in the ceremony and reception room, which was designed to look like it was a living plant which had grown from the bottom of the hearth up the side and along the top of the mantle using the same flowers and foliage form my bouquet.”

Wedding Dress and Bridesmaids Dresses

“My wedding dress was from Broughton’s Bridal in Garforth. I tried on around five dresses with two of my bridesmaids and then returned a few days later with my mum. I knew which one I liked the best and it ended up being the only one she cried for when I tired it on. My dress was the Morilee ‘Lunetta’. I paired a Morilee belt with the dress and as the original straps were plain, I had the straps altered adding beading and lace to match the rest of my dress. Haley was absolutely incredible throughout and I could not recommend her enough!

My bridesmaid dresses were the ‘Kily’ dress from TFNC in the colour pale mauve. This was the most flattering shade and complimented the memory lane and menta Rose’s of my bouquet.”

On the day – how did Covid restrictions affect your wedding day?

“We originally had planned for a wedding for 86 day guests and 110 evening guests. During the full lockdown we decided that no matter what, as long as we could legally get married that we would not be postponing. After over 10 years together we just knew that waiting was not the right decision for us. We were able to have 24 guests for the ceremony and 28 guests for the wedding breakfast. While it was not what we would have planned we could not imagine it any other way now.

While social distancing was adhered to, it is not obviously apparent on our photos. The ceremony layout and seating plan all had to be amended to be Covid secure but our photos are still incredible. All my hair and make-up suppliers wore full PPE while we were getting ready.

At the end of the night my friends all commented on how our wedding had changed their view of an intimate wedding and how much they enjoyed it. Our venue and wedding suppliers were amazing, we could not have asked for better service under normal circumstances let alone during the pandemic.”

Advice from Kelly & Sam for engaged couples looking to hold an intimate wedding?

“Just do it! If you can do it, don’t wait! On the day, in that moment when you are saying your vows, nothing else and no one else matters at all, you don’t even realise anyone else is in the room! So if you have 15 guests or 50 it really will not matter! You may be disappointed that you feel like people are missing, but marrying your other half takes all that away, and to not do it just so more people can watch it happen just wasn’t for us. Getting to start our married life together was more important than having other people being able to watch our ceremony happen.”

A word from The Grand Hotel, York

“We had been anticipating our first wedding post-Covid for months and the whole team were excited to be back doing what they do best, creating wonderful memories and experiences for our happy couples.
The wedding of Kelly and Sam was as beautiful as we expected and after hearing their feedback, we’re pleased to have successfully delivered the day they had dreamt of for so long.”

We asked Jane from Jane Beadnell Photography about the day

I was excited and nervous about photographing this wedding under these new rules, it was my first wedding back since everything that has happened in the world. I was eager to get back to photographing weddings but mindful of the social distancing. Wearing a face mask in the hotel was a small challenge as it meant my viewfinder kept steaming up.

Due to the restriction of numbers it meant I couldn’t be in the room with all their guests as they ate their wedding breakfast. So Kelly and Sam opted to do their speeches and cake cutting in a public space within the hotel which meant I was able to capture these traditions for them.

Their day felt very romantic, meaningful and touching with everything we have all been through over the last 6-7 months it showed that human relationships are the biggest part of our existence and that love really does conquer over everything.


Jane Beadnell Photography
Ambience York
Dutch Nurseries
Broughtons Bridal
Charlotte Wilson MUA
Lottie Haigh Hair
Slater’s Menswear
SS Productions
Love Lights The Way
Unique Balloons

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Selby Business Park
Oakney Wood Court

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